In case you weren’t able to watch the 51st Annual Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards, or if you just didn’t feel like spending three hours watching it last night, you can get a full recap right here.
Hosting the awards this year was veteran ACM Host, Luke Bryan, as well as Dierks Bentley who filled in after Blake Shelton stepped down from the position back in December. Blake Shelton wasn’t absent from the awards though, he surprised Luke Bryan on stage during Bryan’s performance of his new single, “Huntin’, Fishin’ Lovin’ Every Day” to open the show. Shelton also stayed on stage to perform his new single “Came Here to Forget,” which some speculate is about his recent divorce from Miranda Lambert and his new relationship with fellow “Voice” coach, Gwen Stefani.
Fan-favorite Kenny Chesney also debuted his new single, “Noise,” on the MGM Grand stage in Las Vegas. The first award of the night, Song of the Year, was swept up by newcomer Chris Stapleton for his song “Nobody to Blame.” Following Stapleton’s win was a duet from Chris Young and previous “Voice” contestant, Cassadee Pope, performing their new single “Think of You.”
Country-outlaw Eric Church honored his late musical inspirations in his performance last night. Church performed his song “Record Year” and during the performance played snippets of songs by David Bowie, Scott Weiland, Motorhead’s Lemmy and The Eagles’ Glenn Frey. Newcomer Cam performed her hit single “Burning House.” Another musician was also honored at the show: Joey Feek, of the duo Joey and Rory, passed away in March from a long battle with cancer. Feek was honored with a standing ovation. To watch the touching moment visit, which you can view here.
The second award of the night was the Single Record of the Year. Thomas Rhett, son of country singer Rhett Akins, took this award for the song penned about his wife, “Die a Happy Man.” Up against Rhett in this category was Cam’s “Burning House,” Chris Janson’s “Buy Me a Boat,” Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush,” Chris Young’s “I’m Comin’ Over” and Sam Hunt’s “Take Your Time.”
Jason Aldean performed his brand new single “Lights Come On.” Chris Stapleton took home his second award of the night, winning “Album of the Year” for “Traveller.” Cole Swindell brought the audience to tears with the heartfelt song written about his father, “You Should Be Here.” Illinois native Brett Eldredge made all of the ladies in the crowd swoon by handing out flowers in the audience while singing “Drunk on Your Love.” Continuing the trend of performing new singles was Keith Urban, who was surrounded by flames, performing “Wasted Time.” Little Big Town paired up with New Orleans musician Trombone Shorty to perform “Stay All Night.” Keeping up the duet trend was Kelsea Ballerini and former boy band member, Nick Jonas. Ballerini and Jonas teamed up to debut Ballerini’s new single, “Peter Pan.”
Tim McGraw moved the crowd with his performance of “Humble and Kind.” McGraw performed the ballad while audience members waved their colored, light-up wristbands in the air. McGraw made a statement by bring up people of all races, sexes and ages onto the stage, making a statement about equality.
The Vocal Group of the Year award went to Little Big Town. American Idol winner Carrie Underwood also debuted a new single on the show, “Church Bells.” The Female Vocalist of the Year award went to country music’s sassiest lady, Miranda Lambert. Lambert beat out Carrie Underwood, Jana Kramer, Kacey Musgraves and Kelsea Ballerini. Sam Hunt took to the piano to belt out “Make You Miss Me” from his hit album “Montevallo.” Thomas Rhett performed the song that won him Single Record of the Year, “Die a Happy Man.”
Male Vocalist of the Year was also taken by Chris Stapleton. Stapleton beat out veterans such as Eric Church, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley and Brett Eldredge.
One of the biggest performances of the night was the collaboration of Dolly Parton and Katy Perry. Perry joined Parton on stage to help perform a variety of Parton’s hits like “Jolene” and “9 to 5.” Perry and Parton wowed the crowd with their performance.
Vocal Group of the Year was won by the “Girl Crush” singers, Little Big Town. New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year was taken by the “Break Up with Him” singers, Old Dominion. Stapleton also took the New Male Vocalist of the Year award. Taking the New Female Vocalist of the Year award was Kelsea Ballerini. The Vocal Duo of the Year, Florida Georgia Line, got the crowd rocking with their performance of the hit single “Confession.”
Many people speculated about who was going to take home the coveted Entertainer of the Year award, but in the end Jason Aldean took home the night’s top prize. Aldean beat out country legend Garth Brooks, host Luke Bryan, bad-boy Eric Church and the only female nominated for the award, Miranda Lambert. At the end of the night it was your typical country music award show full of stellar performances, amazing collaborations and a lot of awards being taken home by a single person. If you want to watch any of the performances from the show, you can do so here.